The relatives of a young man who tragically died have donated 12 memory boxes to Kettering General Hospital which are designed to help children cope with family bereavements.
The hospital has welcomed the donation and will be distributing the boxes appropriately through its end of life care lead nurse and intensive care unit.
Memory boxes for children have been used by other hospitals to support the grieving process, but it is believed this is the first time they have been used in hospitals in Northamptonshire.
Michelle Duffy, from Corby, and her sister Beverly Griffin, from Kettering, made the donation to KGH’s end of life care lead nurse Sarah Parry, and to deputy director of nursing and quality, Diane Postle.
Michelle is the mother of Arran Duffy, who tragically died on June 24, 2016, and Beverly is Arran’s auntie.
They were accompanied by Arran’s daughter Koraleigh, five, and his son, Liam, nine, and Koraleigh’s mum Siobhan Wallace.
Liam’s mum, Lauren Turner, and Arran’s dad, Iain, were unfortunately unable to attend the presentation.
Michelle said: “My grandchildren Liam and Koraleigh received a children’s memory box from Coventry Hospital where Arran died and we found they were invaluable in helping the children to remember happy things about their daddy.
“Arran’s four brothers and one sister, and other family members and friends, got together and we held a music event at the Raven Hall in Corby to raise money to start children’s memory boxes at Kettering General Hospital.
“We raised £2,200 which will fund 110 boxes so these are just the first 12.”
The memory boxes contain two teddy bears – one for the child and one to leave with the parent – as well as a candle, story book, balloon, photo frame, notebook and pen.
There is also a card for the parent’s handprint to be stored on and a small box to contain a lock of the parent’s hair.
Michelle said: “Arran’s children have filled their boxes with things they have chosen that remind them of their daddy.
“This has been a really positive thing for them do and has helped them to talk about their daddy.
“We wanted to bring this idea to Kettering General Hospital so other local children who find themselves in these circumstances can benefit in the same way that Koraleigh and Liam have.”
The boxes will be stored with Sarah Parry and with the ICU.
Sarah said: “This is something we have never done before but we think it is a great idea.
“When children lose a parent it is a very upsetting time for them.
“We think it is very important to enable them to have something tangible to remember them by.
“Memory boxes have been used in other contexts – for example for parents to remember babies who have died and also to help engage with patients who have dementia, to help them to remember some of their happy times.
“We think this is a great way to help children to grieve for their loss but also remember all of the happy times they had with their parent.”